We recently got a new puppy!! I have always wanted a dog but my family and I have been too busy to take on the big commitment. Now that my dad is retired and is home most of the day, we figured it is a good time to add a new member to our family!
Kiwi is a Shetland Sheepdog. She is the second of a litter of 5. The eldest being a male and the rest female. She’s super sweet and energetic as all puppies are! She learns so quickly and is eager to please. My mom, who is not much of a dog person, it now totally in love with her!
Pris and I often go to a local dog park because we both love dogs! It’s so weird because we would talk to all the friendly people at the park and when the topic comes up to “which one is your’s?”, we would always awkwardly say….”O..we don’t own a dog, we just came here to look other people’s!”. Make us look like dog-nappers! Now we can bring Kiwi there and wouldn’t be weirdos!
Prepare for an onslaught of photos of Kiwi on the blog!!
This is Emo, an 8 month old pom. Shandy and her brother took her in after someone decided to give her away after deciding they don’t want a pet anymore! Sucks..but glad she’s found a caring home now. Her name was Momo before but she started responding to Eeeee (not really), so..she’s now Emo! Very curious and playful but not yappie at all, in fact, during the entire shoot, I did not hear one single bark!
She pee’d on my carpet but that’s okay…she’s too cute!
This is the second dog we met on the trip back to Hong Kong.
Tack-Tack is my cousin’s friend’s Samoyed. PYeung and I fell in love with this dog! He’s super chill and lazy. Once he lays down, you can pretty much push him across the floor like a mop to clean the floor! This breed’s friendly look also made him so loveable.
He’s made me want to get a samoyed when I decide I have the time commitment to take on a family pet.
I met this guy on my trip back home in Hong Kong.
Marble is my uncle’s Husky. Still a big puppy and playful as ever. He loved doing figure 8s around and through my legs. Either that or he was trying to shed because my jeans became looked like his coat after about a minute.
Winter climate dogs in 30 degree and 95% humidity weather…sucks to be them…
My buddy recently got new pup to be Cookie‘s new friend. Naturally, she ends up in my ‘studio’ like a super model.
She was full of energy and curious as ever, but was easy enough to handle to keep on the backdrop. Shoot went very well and only took an hour and a bit from set up to finish.
Ladies and gents -> Opal
Benjamin is a doll.
The shoot started off with a stroll in the park for him to run off some energy and also to do his business on the grass instead of on the backdrop. A pee stain would be cumbersome to clone out.
Tested out the thunder gray, but moved back to the failed safe white near the end of the shoot.
The second pet portrait session this weekend is of this big puppy.
Meet Fozzie, the one year old Shar Pei. Energetic, playful and drools a river. Being a young pup that he is, he was jumpy throughout the shoot, but that is what makes him fun!
This is the biggest dog I’ve shot so far and the first time I found the 6ft backdrop to be a bit small after four shoots. The 9ft would have been ideal but I don’t have a 9ft white…yet. He’s also the darkest dog I have shot in a studio setting. Quite difficult to get all the details and more work in post to get it right.
Now it is increasing colder, it’s getting difficult to shoot in the garage because I have to shoot with the doors closed and it’s hard to use a longer focal range.
I did four shoots on the same backdrop (using both sides because I’m cheap like that). Some more time spent on the computer to clean up some dirt but generally it’s not so bad and I can reuse it. I have found that after other dogs have been on the backdrop, the next one is more interested in sniffing it out and staying on the backdrop. But this dog was a whole new experience. 10 minutes into the shoot and the paper was soaked. Seamless paper is a disposable item, got to keep that in mind.
- space is limited and not everyone will have a living room in their home to set up the backdrop system and also for me to use a long lens
- the dog needs breaks
- don’t throw a toy onto the backdrop since the dog will run after it
- the underside of the seamless paper can be used
- doing the shoot indoors really keeps the backdrop clean
A lot of dogs have very dark fur around their eyes. They show up as two complete black holes sometimes. I had this problem with a recent shoot with Buddy.
I shot in RAW and recovered some detail in the eyes with the Adjustment Brush tool in Camera Raw. This can be done in Photoshop with masking as well.
To bring more detail to the eyes, pay attention to get more catch light from the eyes. In this case, I actually went to emphasize the catch light. It makes the dog look smarter! It’s these subtle changes that make significant improvements to the results.
I am building my books on pet portraits. What I am trying to achieve is a clean studio look. My goal is to capture these pets as if they are fashion models.
I may end up shooting some outdoor shots in the future, but right now I’d like to focus my efforts into studio type portraits…pets only though. I am still a big fan of on location shoots for humans.
It was a challenge, but both dogs were relatively cooperative. I won’t be shooting two dogs together next time though. I also found out that a white backdrop is a disposable item when doing pets.
I will need to figure out if I can set up my studio indoors in a smaller space now that winter is closing in quick. Perhaps I should practice setting up on location to the owners house next time.
These are the two that I enlarged to 12×18 prints. They turned out nicely for what they cost.